Ex-All Black to put steel into Qld Reds - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ex-All Black to put steel into Qld Reds

By Jim Morton 01/12/2008 03:22:39 PM Comments (0)

Former All Black Daniel Braid has only just landed but already he's eying the job as Queensland's minister of defence.

Braid officially began his Super 14 stint with the Reds on Monday, training for the first time at Ballymore despite a lingering ankle injury.

Much is expected of the 27-year-old marquee signing who replaces veteran open-side breakaway David Croft in battling Queensland's pack.

A regular for the Auckland-based Blues since 2001, Braid is renowned as a breakdown workhorse and has taken it upon himself to help solve the Reds defensive problems.

Queensland were one of the most exciting attacking teams to watch in the second half of last season but their tackling let them down as they finished 12th, conceding 25 points per game, the sixth worst in the competition.

"They definitely improved as the season went on," Braid said of his new team, stocked full of youngsters.

"They scored a lot of points and never gave up but defensively they let quite a few points through.

"That's a big part of my game, defence, I'm a key person in that being an open-side.

"I've got a lot of ideas I can bring in about defence so if I can help out there and looking at the talent we've got running around we can definitely score points."

There wasn't much training but Braid liked what he saw in a torrid Ballymore welcome on a hot and humid Brisbane day, rating the facilities superior to those at the Blues' Eden Park headquarters.

A high ankle strain restricted Braid to fitness work and a beep test, where he finished mid-pack.

"I can run on it fine but we're just being cautious these first couple of weeks of training, getting back into it," he said.

The 102kg Test forward moved to Queensland looking for a fresh start after failing to move out of the huge shadow cast by NZ skipper Richie McCaw.

Braid's embraced the challenge in a team looking to make the Super Rugby finals for the first time since 2001.

"I'd hope there'd be a bit of expectation on me coming over from New Zealand and I look forward to it," he said.

"If there is that expectation I hope that it will push me to step up and perform."

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